Surviving POVERTY!


Poverty is something that I never stop thinking about, and I hope that my community, especially the elite and well to do sections of Black life, also keep it front and center on their brains. I also hope that people who live in poverty never stop trying to find their way out of such a life-transforming situation that causes pain, suffering, and loss of prize opportunities for growth.

Poverty is no joke! Almost every day as I travel my hood and hoods around Chicago from the South Side to West Side as well as communities on the North Side, I see excessive poverty, consisting of starvation and homelessness. Regardless of how well I may be doing at this moment in my life, I’m still consumed with a large portion of my hood that has never, and unfortunately, will never know life outside of poverty. That’s frightening!

I say this with all honesty. If I had millions of dollars like some in my community and other communities, I would walk the street and give half of my money away to try and help as many people out of poverty as possible. I mean that. I’m a very conservative dude and money means nothing to me in terms of trying to keep it all for myself. If you asked a number of micro-non-for-profits and young hustlers creating opportunities for themselves, they would tell you that I’ve assisted them in their “passion purpose” endeavors with small amounts of support. But that’s nothing compared to what I’d do if I had real loot.

That’s why I love Dr. Willie Wilson for what he does. It takes a real God-like person to openly give their hard-earned cash away to help the less fortunate. You can’t be any greater of a man or a person when you live selflessness as Dr. Wilson does. Actually, I rather him not be mayor and spend his life being a generous donor to others who so terribly need his assistance. His kind of help removes people from poverty or at least gives them a mental headstart at possible progress. But I wish Willie well in his political pursuits.

Of course, it takes more than money to solve the poverty epidemic, it takes an individual’s willingness to dream big and commit to working extremely hard to make dreams a reality. How many people literally study and analyze poverty? It’s a monster of a horrible catastrophe. Remember seeing those Godzilla films where he tramples through cities destroying everything in sight? That’s what poverty has done to communities all across this country. There are select cities and states that are unrecognizable. You wonder if anyone even lives there. And knowing that families actually reside in such distressed environments is enough to cause me to faint.

Especially when poverty is generational. Can you even imagine three to four generations of families who only know poverty? How terrible. It’s at a point where those little children who are recipients of generational poverty never ever dream about a life other than the ones that they experience from beginning to end. What do they dream? How can they dream? Are they even allowed to dream? The poverty-stricken parents and grandparents have never dreamed so most don’t prescribe to imaginations nor do they influence dreaming!

Remember when I penned the article about celebrating small successes. Escaping poverty is one of those accomplishments that we rarely acknowledge. But it’s time we salute anyone who has pulled themselves from generational poverty. So, if you know a neighbor, a friend, and family member who rose from the concrete jungles of urban America, please knock on their doors and bow down to them. Because overcoming poverty is no freakin’ joke. Congrats to so many who have survived poverty.


Carl D. West

Carl D. West is the CEO/Publisher of TBTNews and founder of the TRUTH 4 Literacy Foundation, Leadership Luncheon, Legend and Pioneer Awards, all powered by Midwest Gap Enterprise.


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